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Opinions

Since 1994, the court has offered an online opinion service to the public. A PDF version is available for all opinions issued after January 1, 1995. The database contains over 4,000 opinions from 1989 to the present, and new opinions are added as they are issued. Until required by the Judicial Conference of the United States to charge an access fee, we will offer this service free of charge.

We offer two ways to review these opinions: search and subscribe.

Search - ISYS software allows a full-text search of the opinions and gives a hypertext display of any "hits" in response to your query. When searching for an opinion on this site, a word or phrase, docket number, or its file name can be used as well as numerous other search parameters. Compound queries are also possible. As your request must be specific, we suggest that you consult our Search Examples prior to entering your query. For answers to frequently asked questions and for advanced assistance, including a glossary of terms, please review our Help Index.

In the displayed results of a search, the letters that follow the file name indicate the following:
P an opinion designated for "publication" (see "published" opinions below),
R an opinion containing an interpretation of the Local Rules, and
U an opinion that was once sealed but has now been unsealed.

The opinions are available in two formats (after 1/1/95).

  • The HTML version is single spaced, and all footnotes will appear at the end of the document. Because it loads quickly, we recommend browsing the search results using the HTML format.
  • The PDF version of an opinion is double spaced and retains the same formatting and pagination as the original WordPerfect or Microsoft Word opinion. It is the version used to cite an opinion.

Subscribe - This option allows you to subscribe to an email service that sends opinions to you as they are issued. After you complete a registration form, which includes your selection of the types of opinions you wish to receive, a confirmation notice will be sent indicating that your registration has been processed. Your subscription can be modified or discontinued at any time.

While completion of all fields is not required, we ask that you do furnish the information so we can utilize an associated database to consult with you regarding user satisfaction.

Please note that other services offered through this option are described in more detail here.

NOTE ON PUBLISHED OPINIONS:

In order to assist publishing companies and similarly situated information providers in determining which of the over 4,000 available opinions may have precedential value to practitioners, the court has used a distinctive suffix in the file name to identify those opinions. All files names will appear in a separate column whenever search results are displayed.

If the opinion has been designated for "publication," there will be a P at the end of the file name in the second column, e.g., 93PB047P.WPD for opinions added prior to 01/01/00 and 00NH00IP.WPD for opinions dated after 01/01/00. The file name will be the exclusive source of that information.

5.3 Citation Format (See Local Rule 5.3 Citation Format for Opinions Issued by this Court)

Other Orders
This section includes other orders of interest to the public and members of the bar.

Standing Orders
This section includes standing court orders that may be of interest to the public and members of the bar.

Electronic Civil Judgment Index
This link provides access to civil judgments entered since January 1, 2004. Judgments in civil cases prior to that date are archived at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Waltham, Massachusetts.